The number of patent cases tried to a jury has burgeoned in recent years. From 1968 to 1970, more than ninety-six percent of all patent trials were bench trials; in the fiscal year 1994, seventy percent of patent trials were tried to a jury. Because patent infringement actions begin with interpretation of the often highly technical and complex patent claim, the role of juries in patent litigation suits has become controversial. The general right to a jury trial in an infringement action has never been seriously questioned. However, this general right to a jury trial does not address the allocation between the judge and the jury of specific issues that arise within a patent infringement action. In Markman v. Westview Instruments, Inc., the United States Supreme Court addressed whether the interpretation of patent claims is a matter exclusively for the judge or is subject to the Seventh Amendment right to trial by jury.
Norman, Elizabeth J.
"Markman v. Westview Instruments, Inc.: The Supreme Court Narrows the Jury's Role in Patent Litigation,"
Mercer Law Review: Vol. 48
, Article 18.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.mercer.edu/jour_mlr/vol48/iss2/18